Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Education and Human Services


Family and Child Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jennifer Brown Urban

Committee Member

Robert J. Reid

Committee Member

Susana Juniu

Committee Member

C-Y Steven Lee


This quantitative study aims to understand the role of organized sports in youth development from a parental perspective. Specifically, it addresses whether grammar school-aged children (Mean Age = 9) who participate in organized sports have higher levels of positive youth development (PYD) compared to those who do not participate or who minimally participate. This study also explores the barriers to participation for those who do not participate. The sample was drawn from the two public grammar schools in Secaucus, N.J. during the 2012-13 academic year.

The major findings of this study do not show a difference in PYD levels based on sports participation. However, the resuhs indicated that youth had a strong interest and high levels of participation in extracurricular activities. The results of this study are consistent with previous research which has found sports participation to be the most common type of activity involvement for children in kindergarten through eighth grade (Theokas, et al, 2008). Barriers, limitations, and implications of the study findings are discussed.

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